Following Queen Zee’s split, Getintothis’ Banjo on the Liverpool band who shone bright.
For a while there, Queen Zee were the best band in the world.
They were so much more than other bands – more important, more powerful, more entertaining…just MORE!
And now they are no more, having recently announced that they are splitting up and, personally speaking, I am just gutted.
I first heard about the band from the unstoppable legend that is Doreen Allen, whose word on good music is to be taken seriously. She was attracted by their then name, Queen Zee and the Sasstones and so went to see them live.
She returned full of praise for the band and has championed them ever since.
My first Queen Zee gig was a 2018’s LIMF. After watching earnest indie band after earnest indie band, Zee and the gang showed up and suddenly everything changed. The energy levels shot up, the intensity changed and all other bands were served notice that here was someone who was a cut above what had gone before.
It wasn’t that the preceding bands were bad, in fact I had been quite impressed with a few of them, but in comparison to Queen Zee they were shown to be the lead footed, unimaginative dullards they had suddenly become.
Queen Zee were that good, that different and that important.
The stage at LIMF was a play thing to singer Zee, who took full advantage of it, roaming over the whole area and climbing the speaker stacks, a guitar dangling from it’s lead trailing behind her. Queen Zee were not content to just stand there and play, they had to perform.
But more than this, they had the charisma and the attitude to carry it off. They came across as stars. They were stars!
My next Queen Zee gig was at 24 Kitchen Street, where I got the feeling that a palpable sense of change was in the air. I came away with the feeling that I was genuinely witnessing the start of something, a new youth movement of some kind, with Queen Zee at the forefront.
Queen Zee were that type of band, so good at what they do that they could inspire people to do likewise, to pick up a guitar and voice all of the frustrations they felt as they tried to fit into the world. Queen Zee gave voice to the dispossessed, the outsiders, those whose lives, ambitions and sexuality were outside of the mainstream.
Hopefully those that were so inspired are able to carry the flame forward, because we need bands like Queen Zee. We need them to set our thoughts to music, to spark something new and to raise the profile of the rejected and dejected.
Their debut album captured all of this perfectly, the thrill and pure rush of their live shows caught in the studio perfectly. But now there will be no follow up, no second great album.
There is a massive sense of frustration that goes with all this. What would Queen Zee do next? What would their second album sound like? How far could they take this?
That they were poised on the edge of a breakthrough is indisputable, they had spent a good amount of 2019 on the road, playing to larger and larger audiences, getting their name out there, spreading their power.
The split is so cruel, because it means that all of this momentum, this forward charge has come to nothing. Their flame burned bright, but it also burned only briefly.
We have their album and we have the memory of some very special gigs, but that’s it. And it seems wrong.
But we wish all the members of Queen Zee well. We hope to see them all again soon in whatever form they decide is best for them.
But we miss them. Already we miss them.
The gallery below traces the band from the first time we saw them at Drop The Dumbulls in 2016 to the last at Pride in Liverpool in 2019.